Craig launches outreach efforts for Eighth Street Redevelopment project
With the first housing development project led by the Craig Housing Authority underway, city officials reaching out to inform residents about the project and collect leads for future homeowners at the complex.
The housing authority project envisions 20 single-family townhome units at the former Memorial Regional Hospital site between Tucker and Russell streets. The property was donated to the city by Moffat County and Memorial Regional Health, which controlled the property.
City officials said the goal is to provide new, high quality homes that are priced appropriately for local wages. A housing needs assessment that was previously completed by the city identified the Eighth Street property as a priority for development, second to a larger project in the Woodbury subdivision.
“There is a need to be open and engage the public,” said Mike Scholl, who is contracted by the city to assist with the Eighth Street project. “We are also trying to lay the groundwork, understand the demand, specifically for new and quality builds in the community. And what does the demand mean for this project?”
The city began hosting public outreach events this week, meeting with MRH staff members and school district employees to collect information from employees who are currently looking for housing. Health care and school district workers were a focus of the project, with those establishments serving as the largest employers in Moffat County.
City officials said they also worked with Integrated Community to coordinate a Spanish-speaking event. Another event was held Wednesday, Feb. 22, at The Warehouse with hopes of attracting anyone who’s interested in the community.
City Manager Peter Brixius said the Eighth Street Redevelopment presents a great opportunity for the housing authority’s first project.
“It will generate some revenue once the properties are sold,” he added. “That revenue can be used to invest in more projects.”
Housing is one of the biggest concerns when it comes to economic development and local workforce retention, which is what prompted the city to create a housing authority, according to Brixius. There is a vital need for more housing to meet the needs of the current workforce, as well as to create growth for potential energy projects that may come to Craig with the closure of local coal mines and coal-fired power plants.
“We are looking for solutions,” Brixius said. “And this project begins to satisfy some of that demand. It gives people a chance to own a home in a great neighborhood.”
Residents will need to be income-qualified for the units within a range of 140% of the area median income as the target. Brixius said there will be some growth for appreciation, so purchasing the units would have a potential resale benefit.
“The cap is not to prevent equity,” Brixius said. “It’s to prevent a huge swing in the market from making these units unaffordable.”
The eligibility process will be managed by the housing authority and may eventually require hiring a city staff member for oversight. Some of the current affordable housing funds can be allocated for existing staff time.
Securing funding for the overall project cost — estimated at $7.6 million — is the focus for the housing authority. Brixius said there is currently $1.8 million to $2 million secured, and there is $6.5 million in potential funding if the pending grants are awarded at the full amount. If grants aren’t available for the project, the city would look at financing, which Brixius said would be fringe financing.
He doesn’t anticipate the city taking on any debt for the project.
“Part of what we’re trying to do is use the grant funding to bring the price down for the owners and to make a profit to reinvest in other housing projects,” Scholl said. “One of the big challenges, in the U.S and Colorado, it’s hard to build housing for anything under $400,000. With the cost of materials, one the biggest challenges has been managing the costs.”
The project could include 12 two-bedroom units and eight three-bedroom units that would hit the market with price tags between $280,000 and $310,000. Horizontal construction for the project could be completed in 2023, and vertical construction is planned for 2024.
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